Unique Antioxidant Doesn’t Interfere with Post-Workout Adaptations

Posted: October 24, 2010 in Nutrition, Training
Tags: ,

Current research continues to demonstrate that consuming most antioxidants before, during or immediately after exercise interrupts the endogenous recovery process and causes a net loss in rates of protein synthesis,  among other things.

It appears that the reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced by exercise is tightly regulated by the body’s own defense systems, and adding additional antioxidants such as Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and N-Aceytl Cysteine (NAC)  end up unfavorably overloading the oxidation process and reducing the beneficial cellular adaptations to exercise. However, research does demonstrate some exceptions to this, pomegranate and green tea extract (EGCG) in particular may possibly have favorable effects.

This doesn’t mean one shouldn’t take antioxidants at all, quite the contrary. You just want the body’s antioxidant supply to be optimized by ingesting these nutrients at other times of the day. I typically recommend  a 1 meal “buffer” before or after workouts before taking antioxidants, or 2-3 hours. Now a small amount of antioxidants shouldn’t cause a problem, if you’re getting a few mg’s or IU’s of VC or VE from whole foods in your post workout meal, don’t worry about it.

Now we have another “safe” peri-workout antioxidant, Lemon Verbana. This study looked at 90 minute running sessions over 21 days, so it may be too soon to assume that these results will apply to weight training cellular adaptation, but its interesting nonetheless, and something to keep an eye on in future research.



Eur J Appl Physiol. 2010 Oct 22.

Effect of lemon verbena supplementation on muscular damage markers, proinflammatory cytokines release and neutrophils’ oxidative stress in chronic exercise.
Intense exercise is directly related to muscular damage and oxidative stress due to excessive reactive oxygen species (ROS) in both, plasma and white blood cells. Nevertheless, exercise-derived ROS are essential to regulate cellular adaptation to exercise. Studies on antioxidant supplements have provided controversial results. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of moderate antioxidant supplementation (lemon verbena extract) in healthy male volunteers that followed a 90-min running eccentric exercise protocol for 21 days. Antioxidant enzymes activities and oxidative stress markers were measured in neutrophils. Besides, inflammatory cytokines and muscular damage were determined in whole blood and serum samples, respectively. Intense running exercise for 21 days induced antioxidant response in neutrophils of trained male through the increase of the antioxidant enzymes catalase, glutathione peroxidase and glutathione reductase. Supplementation with moderate levels of an antioxidant lemon verbena extract did not block this cellular adaptive response and also reduced exercise-induced oxidative damage of proteins and lipids in neutrophils and decreased myeloperoxidase activity. Moreover, lemon verbena supplementation maintained or decreased the level of serum transaminases activity indicating a protection of muscular tissue. Exercise induced a decrease of interleukin-6 and interleukin-1β levels after 21 days measured in basal conditions, which was not inhibited by antioxidant supplementation. Therefore, moderate antioxidant supplementation with lemon verbena extract protects neutrophils against oxidative damage, decreases the signs of muscular damage in chronic running exercise without blocking the cellular adaptation to exercise.

PMID: 20967458

  1. Marc says:

    Do you by any chance have more information on the favorable effects of EGCG around the training that you imply in your article?

    Kind regards

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s